Best Practices When Using Criminal Histories

When utilizing criminal history information in pre employment decisions:

  • Blanket policies or practices that exclude individuals from employment based on having any criminal record unless required by state or federal law should be eliminated.
  • Educate managers and those hiring and decision-making regarding Title VII on what is prohibited and could be considered employment discrimination.
  • Ensure that final decision-makers do not have knowledge of any aspects of applicants' criminal history not relevant to the hiring decision. Although not stated by EEOC, it remains a good policy to follow.

Developing a Policy

  • Identify essential job requirements and actual job performance requirements
  • Determine offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for being placed in certain jobs.
  • Determine the duration of exclusions for criminal conduct based on all available evidence.
  • Include an individualized assessment for targeted screens.
  • Justification for use of particular policy (and keep records on file).
  • Train managers, hiring officials, and decision-makers on how to implement the policy and procedures consistent with Title VII.

Criminal Records Interpretation:

  • When making inquiries about criminal records, limit to information for which exclusion would be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.

Confidentiality of Records:

  • Secure all information about applicants' records. Use material for sole purpose for which it was meant.
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